Often considered the definitive doo-wop song, "In The Still Of The Nite" by the Five Satins is a good example of "oldies but goodies" music. "Earth Angel," the lone hit by the Penguins, is another classic illustration of oldies but goodies.
The term "oldies but goodies" became a catch-all phrase to describe the rock and roll, R&B and doo-wop songs of the late 1950s and early 1960s that were popular on AM radio. Los Angeles radio DJ Art Laboe is often credited with coining the phrase "oldies but goodies" in 1957. The first installment of the compilation series of albums "Oldies But Goodies" was released in 1959, even though the songs featured on the best-selling album were only a few years old at the time.
Although songs become oldies or "golden oldies" or "classic oldies" when they become about 15 to 20 years old, the term "oldies but goodies" still usually refers to the first decade of rock and roll music.
Bill Haley and His Comets had the first rock and roll song to top the Billboard charts with "(We're Gonna) Rock Around The Clock" in 1955. The era really got rolling with Elvis Presley, "the King of Rock and Roll," whose first number one single was "Heartbreak Hotel" in 1956.
African-Americans were instrumental in the formation of rock and roll. "Blueberry Hill" by Fats Domino, "Johnny B. Goode" by Chuck Berry, and "Good Golly, Miss Molly" by Little Richard are prime examples of oldies but goodies.
In 1961, Little Caesar and the Romans released the top 10 hit "Those Oldies But Goodies (Remind Me Of You)," a throwback song to the doo-wop of the 1950s. The song's title captures the spirit of people becoming nostalgic for music from a previous era.